Professional Standards of Conduct Policy

(ARC-PA 5th Edition Standards B2.19c)

Effective: 5/16/2023


When a student accepts admission into the UNR Med PA Studies Program, it is assumed that the student thereby agrees to conduct themselves according to the professional and ethical standards governing the physician assistant profession. Professional conduct is a cornerstone of the UNR Med PA Studies Program, and the program will foster students' development of this skill set. PA students must conduct themselves in a highly professional manner, consistent with the patient care responsibilities with which they will be entrusted during their training in the program.  The Professional Standards of Conduct for the UNR Med PA Studies Program outlines the expectations, assessment, and consequences for violation of professional conduct. 

 The PA Studies Program has adopted the AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession as the framework for our expected professional standards. The PA student's behavior should emulate the medical professional described in the Code of Ethics. 


Students must meet the UNR Med PA Studies Program professionalism standards to progress and graduate. Students are expected to act in accordance with standards in the following six domains: Students must meet the UNR Med PA Studies Program professionalism standards to progress and graduate. Students are expected to act in accordance with standards in the following six domains:


  • Accepts responsibility for educational challenges and self-learning.
  • Accepts corrections and feedback graciously and corrects shortcomings.
  • Demonstrates respect for instructors and their teaching endeavors.
  • Submits work of the highest standards of competence and skill.

Humanism and Cultural Competency

  • Engages in relationships with the external world.
  • Demonstrates respect, compassion, and empathy for others.
  • Demonstrates sensitivity and responsiveness to the culture, gender, age, disabilities, and ethnicity of others.
  • Establishes cooperative relationships with others who have differences in opinion, philosophy, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, and language.


  • Punctual and prepared for all obligations.
  • Completes assigned tasks on time.
  • Maintains a professional appearance in professional settings.
  • Contributes to group work in a timely manner.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Able to effectively relate to patients, peers, and colleagues.
  • Maintains composure during adverse interactions or situations.
  • Communicates at a level that is appropriate for a given audience.
  • Demonstrates cooperation and collaboration and works well with authority figures, classmates, and patients.

Ethical Behaviors

  • Maintains confidentiality standards.
  • Upholds the ethical principles of the PA profession.
  • Upholds University and Program rules, policies, laws, and NSHE conduct code (see Title 2, Section 10.2 of NSHE Code).
  • Does not engage in plagiarism, cheating, manipulating, or falsehoods.
  • No evidence of substance abuse.
  • Complies with applicable laws and regulations.


  • Capacity to identify personal weaknesses and poor habits and seeks help from support services.
  • Demonstrates emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, and flexibility.
  • Tolerance for ambiguity and anxiety, open to new experiences.
  • Demonstrates awareness of how their behavior affects others and/or groups or organizations.


In keeping with the professional nature of the UNR Med PA Studies Program, all PA students are expected to dress appropriately when representing the program. 

  • White Coats: Student-length (short) white coats will be worn in clinical settings unless the preceptor and/or instructor instructs otherwise. 
  • Nametags: It is mandatory to wear your nametag in clinical settings, which identifies you as a UNR Med PA student, at all times.

Guidelines for classroom conduct All devices must be silenced during class.

  • Texting and phone calls are prohibited.
  • Non-class related internet activity is prohibited during class.
  • Headsets or earbuds are not to be worn during class.
  • Covert recording of any kind is not allowed in accordance with UNR policy. Recording of lecture material may be permissible with approval from the course director or the Disability Resources Center.
  • The course director has the discretion to modify these guidelines. Classroom expectations will be posted in the syllabus for each course.

Assessment of Professionalism

A standard rubric to evaluate professionalism will be used by course directors/instructors/preceptors as part of the grading component for each course. Students will be assessed on the six domains listed above. A rubric is provided for each course.

Violation of Professional Standards of Conduct

Violating the Professional Standards of Conduct represents a serious offense subject to course failure and/or dismissal from the program. Any violation of the standards will be documented by the faculty or staff witnessing the transgression, sent to the PA Student Progress Committee (SPC), and based on the decision of the SPC, placed in the student's file. The SPC meets regularly to discuss issues related to the academic performance and professionalism of all students in the program. Any professionalism violation may constitute grounds for disciplinary action at the discretion of the SPC, including academic probation or dismissal from the program.

Special Issues

During clinical experiences, there may be rare times when a student has disagreements with their supervisor concerning patient management. Students must be respectful in their communication with peers, faculty and staff, the preceptor, patients, and family members concerning these events and must never contradict a supervisor in a public setting. Disrespectful, demeaning, or otherwise inappropriate or unprofessional communication will not be tolerated, and students violating this standard may be dismissed for the day. Students who violate this standard may be referred to the SPC.

Reviewed. 5/28/23